Pastor Marc-Albrecht Harms changes to the Friedenskirche

(Photo: private)

Krefeld. “We’re just moving a little more into town”

At the beginning of July, Pastor Marc-Albrecht Harms changes his congregation, he leaves the Evangelical Church Congregation Krefeld-Süd and goes to the Friedenskirche. “A long time ago I was asked whether I was interested,” explains Pastor Harms. “There is a different kind of church work there, of church work than in Krefeld-Süd.” He had thought: What can he expect in the next few years in the south? What could stimulate him to change parishes?

Some time ago he completed an advanced training course “Church in the social area”. “This neighborhood work has opened doors to another type of church,” says Harms. “I got to know on-site church.”

There are many groups and circles in a parish. They all lead their own lives. They only meet each other on special occasions and big celebrations. In a social room, on the other hand, the meetings might take place in a looser context, but address very different people. “I am convinced,” said Harms, “that we can only survive as a national church if we set out on the path.” The church brings in what it has. “We have a lot of resources, a full-time structure, a lot of volunteers, buildings, …” says Harms. “The Friedenskirche has long been attractive and appealing with its offers. The culture point radiates into society and has a good reputation. ”So the church will simply move a bit more into the city. “With what we have set out to do,” explains Harms, “it can be more successful from a central location like Friedenskirche and Old Church than from the periphery.” Neighborhood work – how can the church help people around the Friedenskirche. This also requires the experience of Diakonie Krefeld-Viersen. “We want the best for the city,” says the future pastor of the Friedenskirche. For example, a postcard interview campaign is planned. The aim is to ask what the people in the neighborhood are missing, what they want. That could be a sewing cafe or opportunities to sit outside, or a room for a meeting in the church, or …

Within just over a year, three new people were introduced to parish posts at a central location in Krefeld. Marc-Albrecht Harms would like to cooperate with his colleagues Gerhard Herbrecht at the old church and Falk Schöller as the city church pastor. At the beginning of June, Harms and Herbrecht began to offer confectionery lessons across community boundaries. This year of Old Church and Peace Church includes 29 confectionery. “These are not numbers like on the outskirts,” says Harms, “I’m used to double to triple the numbers.” Participation in lessons is more likely to be decided in the schoolyards. The young people have little connection to their own community. The municipal boundaries are very fluid in the inner city area. On Tuesdays there are confectionery lessons in the respective communities, and together on Saturdays and during the autumn holidays they go to Wittenberg. The youth work at the Friedenskirche as well as in Alt-Krefeld is an open youth work. “We are trying to do a little church work again,” emphasizes Harms. In addition to the two pastors, there are also youth leaders Konny Gurr and Monique Schlösser, a student teacher Ev. Religion and biology, integrated into the confectionery class.

Harms was pastor in Krefeld-Süd for more than twelve years, initially in a relief pastoral office of the superintendent (in this previous past several years in Osterath), later in his own pastor’s office. Born in Lower Saxony, the 52-year-old grew up in Gahlen, in the parish of Dinslaken, on the border with Westphalia. After studying theology in Münster and Bonn, he worked in the trial service in St. Tönis and Anrath, as well as in telephone counseling. He then went to the European School in Willich for a year. Harms is married and has two daughters.

“I want to do something with people in faith,” says Harms, explaining his choice of profession. “Look at what has always been, pass it on and try out new things. Show people, especially young people, that you can come up with new ideas, we are open to them. “He experienced this himself as a youth in his congregation:” Usually our Christmas party always took place in the parish hall. In a year we suggested whether this could not take place in the church. The answer: OK, if you clean up. Of course the presbytery knew us, but they were brave to give up their ancient village church for it. We received the ancient church key and only a few conditions were set. There was also no indication of when the celebration should end on Saturday. It was clear to us that there was a service on Sunday at 10.45 a.m. Everything has to be tidied up by then. We wanted to change, but more evolutionary than revolutionary. “

Back to the jams. In 2017 Harms and his then confirmands took part in the nationwide Konficamp in Wittenberg. He brought some songs from there, such as “Das Privileg”, a Christian rap song. The confisers practiced this and sang as a choir at the confirmations in Krefeld-Süd. The confectioners of the Old Church and Friedenskirche will also get to know this rap. On the first Confi Saturday, the young people sang together. “That was a great experience,” reports Pastor Harms. “The voices of boys at that age sound completely different, because the voice breaks they have to reorient themselves.” Munsang Hwang, church musician at the Friedenskirche, sang with the boys – and the confectioners from the Friedenskirche and from Alt-Krefeld with the girls.

Pastor Marc-Albrecht Harms was bid farewell on June 27th in the Markuskirche Fischeln from his previous parish in Krefeld-Süd. On July 4th he will be held in a service at 12 noon in the Friedenskirche by Superintendent Dr. Barbara Schahn introduced into his new office.